what is an expatriate

What is an Expatriate?

So what is an expatriate? It, along with the shortened version expat, may be a word you’ve heard before perhaps in conversation or not It may seem to bear a negative connotation, an expatriate meaning someone who is no longer patriotic? Actually, the term expatriate merely refers to any person living outside the country they were born in. It typically refers to citizens who relocated to another country to reside during their adult life. We’ve put together this expat FAQ to help you get some answers to commonly asked questions surrounding citizenship and moving abroad. 

What is an Expatriate? An Expat FAQ

Q: What is an expatriate?

A: An expatriate is any person worldwide who chooses to live in a country other than their country of birth. When someone chooses to live away from their home country, they are then considered an expatriate. 

Q: Does it matter what country I move to?

A: No, if you have relocated to another country for any reason, you are considered an expat.

Q: What are some reasons someone may want to become an expatriate?

A: Most commonly, the purpose for relocation is due to work or career opportunities. Utilizing travel visas and work permits, many individuals choose to travel to another country for employment chances. In some cases, the pay may be better than what they can obtain in their home country, while in other cases it may be a matter of career growth or development. Some people may desire to reside in a new location due to cost of living while in other cases it may be a matter of exposing family to new culture and a broader world view.

Q: Is being called an expat a bad thing?

A: While many believe the term expat holds negative connotations, or implies a lack of patriotism, it’s just a term used to describe people who’ve chosen to reside outside their home country. It encompasses not just white collar career workers, but also labor and other blue collar workers immigrating for work or education opportunities elsewhere. 

Q: Do many expats move overseas with their families?

A: Many new educational and career opportunities are available to young people, whether it’s in a civilian sector or working for a branch of the military so many expats tend to move away without family. That isn’t to say that families don’t relocate to other countries, but it’s much more common for young single people to take the leap. 

Q: Are there cultural struggles when moving abroad?

A: Packing up your life and moving to an entirely new country can be quite a jump into adventure. No matter the reason for your move, leaving behind your old life for one in a new place, with new people, new customs, traditions, languages and cultures can be quite a shock. It’s important to prepare yourself for these major changes and ensure you have access to resources to help handle this new routine. It can also be difficult for spouses or other family members you may have to temporarily or permanently leave behind. 

Q: Are there taxes or fees involved when considering becoming an expatriate?

A: While expat taxes are not very common at all, it is something to consider when moving out of the U.S. You have to reach very high income levels, and qualify for a high tax bracket in order to be considered for these taxes and fees. You can read more about expatriate taxes and fees here

No matter your reasons for heading out of the country, be sure you look into all necessary travel documents, visas and travel IDs you may need. You’ll want to ensure you have certified copies of your vital records on hand for closing accounts, applying for passports and finally, when you’ve moved overseas to begin your next journey!

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